Emergency Alert SystemPublic Policy

Emergency Alert System

PUBLIC NOTICE: FCC Enforcement Advisory | The Federal Communications Commission

Compliance Obligations

On January 7, 2021, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued an Enforcement Advisory to remind Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants of their obligation to comply with the EAS rules, including ensuring that EAS alerts are accessible to persons with disabilities.  The advisory also encourages consumers to report inaccessible EAS alerts.

For more information about EAS, please visit: fcc.gov/general/emergency-alert-system-eas-0

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To learn more about the Commission’s accessibility requirements for EAS, please visit: fcc.gov/eas-faq-accessibility. 

For specific questions, please contact Debra Patkin, Attorney Advisor, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at 202-870-5226 or debra.patkin@fcc.gov.

Bureau/Office: Consumer and Governmental Affairs

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Tags: Accessibility and Disability – Constituencies

Updated: Thursday, January 7, 2021

What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system commonly used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as weather and AMBER alerts, to affected communities. EAS participants – radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers – deliver local alerts on a voluntary basis, but they are required to provide the capability for the President to address the public during a national emergency.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the FCC, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service (NWS) work collaboratively to maintain the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are the two main components of the national public warning system and enable authorities at all levels of government to send urgent emergency information to the public.

FEMA is responsible for any national-level activation, tests, and exercises of the EAS.

The FCC’s role includes establishing technical standards for EAS participants, procedures for EAS participants to follow in the event the system is activated, and testing protocols for EAS participants.

Alerts are created by authorized federal, state, and local authorities. The FCC does not create or transmit EAS alerts.

The majority of EAS alerts originate from the National Weather Service in response to severe weather events, but an increasing number of state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities also send alerts. In addition, the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards network, the only federally-sponsored radio transmission of warning information to the public, is part of the EAS.

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Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2020

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